Nima's Wish

April 1 – Morning Headlines


Morning Headlines


  • Crash of stolen car leads to power outage for EWEB customers
    A total of 183 Eugene Water & Electric Board residential customers awoke to no power on Easter morning after a stolen car struck a power pole on Royal Avenue east of Oak Hill Cemetery Road. The vehicle, a silver sedan, was stolen within the Eugene
  • Woman files whistleblower lawsuit
    A former Versalogic employee is suing the company for $700,000, claiming she was fired after reporting unwanted advances by a fellow worker. The suit was filed in Lane County Circuit Court by an attorney for Karina Pedder, who worked at the tech compan
  • Right of way annexation could spur Glenwood development
    At first glance, Springfield’s plan to annex two strips of Franklin Boulevard right of way doesn’t seem like a major step. But the 2.1 miles comprises all of Franklin Boulevard right of way within Glenwood. And, if the Spri
  • Crash victims’ familyplan memorial at W. 11th & Bertelsen intersection
    Four years after a deadly car crash killed four people in west Eugene, family members of the victims and local businesses are coming together with a new plan to build…

Keep Current: – EDN Headline News, Sports and Weather

Tim Chuey Weather:

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We’ll see lots of clouds but just a slight chance of showers today. I would have made up some cute April Fool’s Day headline, but our weather can be wacky enough that the joke could actually be true. So you’ll only get the true forecasts.

Don’t forget to take off those studded tires! Today April 1st is the deadline. The fine is pretty steep so get them off before you get caught.

An upper level high pressure ridge (shaded “Arch”shape) gave us plenty of sun and warm temperatures, but a low pressure area (shaded flattened out “Crescent” shape) that’s been sitting offshore is sliding eastward south of us giving us a chance of showers. A frontal system broke apart and slide south of us just like the last one did.

[gn_spoiler title=”ADVISORIES” open=”0″ style=”1″] NONE AT THIS TIME[/gn_spoiler]

High: 67
Low: 45
Rain: 20%
Forecast: Mostly cloudy with a slight (20%) chance of showers today and this evening, mostly cloudy tonight, a mix of clouds and sun Tuesday, partly cloudy Tuesday night and Wednesday, then mostly cloudy with a slight (20%) chance of rain Wednesday night highs 63-67 lows 45-47. Mostly cloudy rain likely (70%) Thursday, showers likely (70%) Thursday night through Friday night, showers Saturday, then mostly cloudy with showers likely (70%) Saturday night and Sunday highs 62-56 lows 47-42. (seasonal averages high 59 low 38)

Because weather forecasting is a combination of science, intuition, and timing there can be no absolute guarantees that individual forecasts will be 100% accurate. Nature is in a constant state of flux and sudden unexpected weather events can happen.

Keep Current on the Weather:

Benefit For Autism

When the weather forecast is bad and the news is bad, there is always music. In this case it’s an album of exceptional local Eugene talent whose proceeds benefit the Kindtree Autism Rocks charity. Support Autism, the arts, and a bright spot in your day.

A Conversation With Matrisha Armitage of Bajuana Tea


Nate Gartrell, EDN

Bajuana Tea, photos courtesy of Matrisha Armitage

Bajuana Tea is a local duo, formed by Matrisha and Austin Armitage. The couple, now married, met in high school, and recently celebrated the 15th Anniversary of both their band and relationship. They’ve been playing gigs for about eight years, and have recorded three albums since their beginning. They’re also scheduled to play at the Nima’s Wish Foundation Spring Forward event on May 3, at the McDonald Theater.

Recently, Eugene Daily News got a chance to speak with Matrisha Armitage, the drummer for Bajuana Tea. Matrisha is also the head of Grrrlz Rock, a local promotional company dedicated to increasing female participation in music and the arts. In this interview, Armitage discusses Bajuana Tea’s background, as well as the ins and outs of being married to your musical collaborator.

Eugene Daily News: So, how did you two meet?

Matrisha Armitage: A girlfriend of mine had a crush on Austin, but they were just friends. She started seeing that we might like each other, and she was a really good friend–instead of getting jealous, she started having us go to places with her, and set us up. Within a few months, we were high school sweethearts. He’s been my one and only since I was 15.

EDN: How does being in a relationship/marriage affect the band, and how does being in a band affect your relationship?

MA: The fact that both of our creative energies are in the same house really helps the band; we can jam anytime we want, and with scheduling and marketing, we don’t have anyone we need to check things with.
On the relationship side, it’s been different over the years, because we’ve been together so long. At first, it was really exciting, and then when you get into original creativity, you have to be sensitive to each others needs. If there is ever creative tension, as soon as we hit the stage, it doesn’t matter. We focus on being in the band, in that moment.

Emotionally, we’ve changed over the years, and we’ve had different dynamics, and we have to be sensitive with each other about those things. But we really work well together in music, run our own business together and have a special kind of relationship that enables all these many facets of our lives to come together and tackle them all as a team both professionally and emotionally. We are an awesome, unique couple.

EDN: Why have you decided to keep it a duo?

MA: Austin would probably give a different answer than me. I’ve always thought that you stand out more as a duo. When we first started playing, a lot of people would come up and say, “Wow, we turned the corner expecting to see five people on stage from the amount of music you’re creating.”

But, we also have had bass players who’ve played with us for a year or two, and did gigs with us for a while. We’ll have one do a cameo onstage for the McDonald Theater show, for the very last song.

EDN: What can people expect to see at your live performances?

MA: We do original rock music, but you really don’t always know what to expect–we can do a blues gig, we can do an acoustic mellow gigs, we can do heavy rock. Austin has really developed this skill to keep the rhythm and still play guitar leads. He’ll have this killer lead, and then go right back to rhythm guitar. I’m a busy drummer–I keep my feet going a lot, and that kind of fills in the bass.

EDN: It’s been reported that you were the first band to sign onto the Nima’s Wish event. How did that come about?

MA: We used to play at World Flavors Cafe regularly, and so we got a pretty good relationship with its owners [and Nima’s Wish founders]

Eliman and Alex. Then, when they quit running the cafe, I told them, “Let me know if you ever need anything from us.”

So, then I got the call from him [Eliman] to years later, and it was a real honor that they thought of us right away. We jumped right on.

EDN: What are some of your musical influences?

MA: Electrically, Hendrix and Clapton, Allman Brothers. Acoustically, our idol is Neil Young. Austin could probably play 150 Neil Yong songs without even trying. Also, Pearl Jam, Nirvana–stuff like that.

We do original rock, but more recently, we’ve been doing a lot of jazz and trying to mix in the genres. Usually, we can format it to the gig–I’ll usually ask someone, “What do you like?” and present it like a menu. We can usually then put together a set on the spot.

EDN: Have you got any CD’s out, and do you have any upcoming shows?

MA: We’ve made three CD’s. Our first is, “100% Natural.” Our second one is called, “Something’s Gotta Change,” and that one’s more political. Our third, an acoustic CD, is called “Take a Sip.” We got really good feedback on that one.

We’ll be playing an acoustic set at the Eugene Marathon on Sunday (April 29), playing for the runners. We’ve done it before, and it’s really fun. But lately, we’ve been working to get some of our original music recorded, and we’re not doing as many live shows as we used to.

Charity to Hold Concert in Honor of Nima Gibba’s Memory


Charity to Hold Concert in Honor of Nima Gibba’s Memory

Nate Gartrell, EDN

A picture of Nima at age 11. Photo courtesy of Eliman Gibba

Roughly one year ago, the parents of Nima Gibba, the Eugene girl killed in one of the city’s deadliest car crashes, sought to create a charity foundation in her name.

In January, they achieved that goal; Nima’s Wish became a registered non-profit, dedicated to bringing aid to impoverished West Africans. Now, the charity foundation is set to hold its first fundraiser, a concert, on May 3, 2012, from 6:30-Midnight at the McDonald Theatre in Eugene.

The concert, called Spring Forward, will feature popular local acts Eleven Eyes, and The Sugar Beets. Blues player Mike Tracey, and the local duo Bajuana Tea will do sets as well.

Also performing will be the popular local band Sol Seed, which recently returned from a tour in California. A six-person group, Sol Seed produces a reggae/funk sound, and was recently selected as the people’s choice for WOW Hall’s Best New Act in 2001.  NOTE: Local reggae band Sol Seed was scheduled to play, but cancelled Thursday, due to a scheduling conflict. Another reggae band, Fire in the Rootz, has agreed to take their place.

The Denbaya Drum and Dance group will also perform, as well as a Hip-hop dance group from the University of Oregon

“We want to start grassroots and involve as many groups as we can,” Eliman Gibba, Nima’s father, said. “It just makes sense to bring in as many people as possible.”

The Sugar Beets play danceable folk rock and have a strong local following. They’re also scheduled to headline the Burnt Woodstock festival in July. The members of Sugar Beets met at their University of Oregon dorm hall, and and the band has stayed together for the 22 years since, Marty Chilla, guitar player and singer for the band, said.

“We still have so much fun, so we keep on going,” Chilla said. “It’s one of the big bright spots and joys of our lives to play together.”

Eleven Eyes member Tim McLaughlin, who plays mostly trumpet, said that his group plays frequent charity shows, but that the Nima’s Wish founders seemed particularly organized and dedicated.

“When someone’s going to this amount of effort for an event, especially for a good cause, it’s nice to be a part of it,” McLaughlin said.

Some of the money raised from the concert will go towards providing immediate aid to West Africa, and some will be used to organize a larger musical fundraiser during the summer, Nima’s stepmother Alexandra Sianis, who runs the non-profit with Eliman, said.

Nima's tombstone is engraved with the phrase "Hanken nu bom," which in Eliman's language means, "Keep on dancing."

“We’d like to have a big summer event, with workshops,” Sianis said, to educate people about social issues in Gambia. She and Eliman want to raise money to provide impoverished Gambians with efficient wood-burning stoves, solar water pumps, and to teach them to farm more sustainably.

KMTR’s Angela Brauer has agreed to be the event’s emcee. She’s covered the Gibba family for the last couple years, and said she’s most impressed that Eliman and Sianis have publicly emphasized that they harbor no hatred towards the person who was convicted of causing Nima’s death.

“Many families in their position will ask for the worst to happen [to the perpetrator], and understandably so,” Brauer said. “But they haven’t–they’re a special family.”

Nima was 11 years old in 2009 when she was killed, while carpooling home from school, by a drunk driver, who initiated the crash by running a red light. Heather Mulgrave, 36, Connie Vermilyea, 34, and Jaziah Vermilyea, 10, were also killed.

A close friend of Nima’s, Jakobi Mulgrave, then 10, was seriously hurt, but survived and recovered from his physical injuries. Matthew Ellmers, the man responsible for the accident, is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence.

The couple dedicated Nima’s Wish to raising money for aid to impoverished Gambians because much of Nima’s ancestry is based there. Eliman is a Gambian citizen, and the couple traveled there in 2010 to visit family and give Nima’s clothing and toys to Gambian schoolchildren.

The Eleven Eyes band. Photo courtesy of Tim McLaughlin

Because Nima attended Kennedy Middle school and was passionate about dancing, students from there will be performing dance routines during the intervals. Some of Nima’s friends will also do dance routines.

All acts on the bill have agreed to donate their time, which has been a great help for Nima’s Wish, Sianis and Eliman said.

“It’s really heartwarming that they’re willing to extend their hearts for the cause,” Sianis said of the bands.

A late scratch to the show was Jah Sun, a well-known reggae artist from Humboldt County. Jah Sun, who also goes by Jason McCommas, was forced to remove his name from the bill because he’d previously agreed to travel to Africa to work on a project with Ethiopian children, called Youths of Shasha.

“No parent should have to go through what the Gibba family is going through,” Jah Sun said, when he was still scheduled to play. “As a father, my heart goes out to them for their loss, and the other families as well.”

Jah Sun’s publicist, Elliot Blair, said that nothing short of an international engagement would have kept Jah Sun from the show, and that they were both sorry he couldn’t make it. Sol Seed has agreed to perform in his place.

The McDonald Theater is located at 1010 Willamette St., in Eugene. Doors will open at 6 p.m. Ticket prices are as follows: $18 if placed in advance, $20 at the door, and $15 with a valid student identification.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-992-TIXX or through TicketsWest


The lineup for Spring Forward. Please note that Sol Seed is now slated to play in Jah Sun's place.

A Conversation with Tim McLaughlin from Eleven Eyes


A Conversation with Tim McLaughlin from Eleven Eyes

Nate Gartrell, EDN

Eleven Eyes members posing with their instruments. The full group. Photo courtesy of Tim McGlaughlin

Eleven Eyes is a local band that plays upbeat, jazz, and also incorporates a modern electronic sound. The Portland Tribune called them “impossible to categorize,” and the six of them combined know how to play at least 20 different instruments.

On May 3rd, 2012, Eleven Eyes is scheduled to play at a benefit show at the McDonald Theater, for the Nima’s Wish Foundation, a Eugene-based charity dedicated to raise money for aid to impoverished West Africans. Nima’s Wish was founded by the parents of Nima Gibba, a girl killed by a drunk driver three years ago in one of Eugene’s deadliest car crashes.

Recently, Eugene Daily News got a chance to speak with Eleven Eyes member Tim McLaughlin, who officially is listed as the group’s “trumpet, efx, laptop, samples, keys, beat programming, and percussion” player, but can also play guitar.

Eugene Daily News: How did you all come together as a group?

Tim McLaughlin I graduated from the U of O, and pulled together some people I was playing with at the time. Some of those people are still in the group, and we have some fresh blood in the band. We’re all friends, and in Eugene it’s a tight musical community, which lets you pick and chose who you play with.

EDN: Sounds like they’ve got you doing a bunch of things onstage. Can you clarify your role with the group?

TM: Well, it definitely keeps me on my toes, I get to have a lot of fun. I’ve been playing trumpet in the band forever, and been playing guitar for as long as that. But I also do a lot of looping, or add a little bit of texture; a little guitar for a second, then bring some trumpet back. Or I’ll add some keyboard sounds, or some stuff from my laptop rig.

It’s kind of a big pallet, I guess. In this particular band, it doesn’t seem necessary to have guitar or trumpet the whole time. It’s nice to diversify the sound, and keep things interesting.

Some of the group's instruments, but nowhere near all. Photo courtesy of Tim McGlaughlin

EDN: Do you improvise when you’re onstage, or how much of a game plan do you bring to an average performance?

We definitely have songs and compositions, but the greatest thing about this band is that we improvise the structure–not just improvising solos–everyone does that. It’s more about improvising the structure of the compositions, changing arrangements. We have a sophisticated set of cues, so we know how to get from one thing to another on the turn of a dime without necessarily talking about it.

We’ve been on a lot of tours over the years, and it’s obvious when we’re playing in places like Colorado, or Washington, or Eugene, that there’s a real open-mindedness to creative, original music. But, we’ve played in places like LA, where there’s a real structured scene–people try to fit in a format of a certain sound or genre, and we definitely stick out like a sore thumb in those types of places.

EDN: What types of music influence you guys? Where’s your musical background?

TM: We’re all inspired by the masters of our instruments, and also by their concepts. I’m inspired by Miles Davis’ concept of being able to morph his band and adapt to situations depending on who he was playing for. I really appreciate that aspect of music.

We’ve all been into an electronica sound, but at the same time, we’ve been playing a lot of Afro beats. We naturally merge them together, usually without even talking about it; we just start to play.

EDN: Do you have any upcoming shows, or releases people should know about?

The full group. Photo courtesy of Tim McGlaughlin

We’re actually going into the studio this weekend. We’re doing a live setting–just a bunch of high quality room mics and we’ll do everything live, with no overdubbing or anything. We’ll do full takes and we’re trying to get an analog sound to go with our electronica, funkadellic, Afro beat sound that we normally.

We want an old school recording, and we’re excited about it. We’re looking at a CD release show for that on June 9.

The Nima’s Wish Foundation concert will be on May 3, 2012, from 6:30-Midnight, at the MacDonald Theater in Eugene.

For more information on Eleven Eyes, visit their website HERE. For more information about Nima’s Wish’s history, CLICK HERE, or visit

Parents of Girl Killed in Crash Begin Charity Foundation


Nate Gartrell, EDN

The parents of Nima Gibba, an 11-year-old Eugene girl killed, along with three others, by a drunk driver in 2009, have started a charity foundation in her name and are now set to commence fundraising efforts.

A photo of Nima Gibba, courtesy of Eliman Gibba

Eliman Gibba, Nima’s father, and Alexandra Sianis, her stepmother, decided to form the foundation, called Nima’s Wish, in order to preserve what they called their daughter’s “giving spirit.” Through the foundation they hope to raise money to help impoverished citizens in Gambia, where some of Nima’s ancestry is based.

“[Nima] had such a yearning to help others, especially animals and kids,” Sianis said. “We’ve been hurting for two and a half years. So to carry that on for her gives us a sense of peace.”

As part of their fundraising efforts, Eliman and Sianis have recently started a Nima’s Wish webpage and hope to hold their first fundraising event, a musical concert, in early 2012.

Eliman and Sianis decided to form the foundation after traveling to West Africa in late 2010 and taking note of ways they could help people there. They identified numerous problems, including a lack of advanced farming techniques and technology; and the use of inefficient wood-burning stoves, which increase the chance of lung disease and can be harmful to local climates.

“The people cut a lot of wood and deforestation is creeping in.” said Gibba of conditions in Gambia and Senegal, where the couple visited.

To combat these problems, Eliman and Sianis have collaborated with Aprovecho, a Cottage Grove-based, non-profit group that’s dedicated to manufacturing and distributing super-efficient rocket stoves which reduce toxic gas emissions and increases the amount of heat produced per unit of fuel.

Additionally, Eliman said, the foundation will use donations to provide food, water and clothing to impoverished West Africans.

Eliman and Sianis, during their trip to West Africa. Photo courtesy of Eliman Gibba.

Eliman is a Gambian citizen, with ancestry in Senegal, which he says will help the Nima’s Wish foundation logistically, in terms of getting aid quickly to people who need it.

“When I’m looking at what we can do, I’m not looking at my family,” Eliman said. “I’m looking at what Sianis and I can do to improve life over there.”
Eliman added that he and Sianis don’t harbor hate for the person responsible for Nima’s death and just want to focus on the “giving back program” they’ve started in her honor.

Members of the public interested in helping Nima’s Wish Foundation can send donations to P.O. Box  2497, Eugene, OR, 94705. They can also visit the Nima’s Wish website, or the Nima’s Wish Facebook page.

Honoring Her Spirit: Parents of Girl Killed in Crash to Start Charity


Honoring Her Spirit: Parents of Girl Killed in Crash to Start Charity

Nate Gartrell, EDN

In early 2009, an 11-year-old girl named Nima Gibba lost her life in one of Eugene’s most fatal car crashes. This month, her parents, Eliman Gibba and Alexandra Sianis, plan to honor her “giving spirit” by starting a charity foundation, called Nima’s Wish. Through the foundation, the couple hope to raise funds to help impoverished Gambians and Senegalese.

Eliman Gibba during the couples' trip to Africa.

Eliman is a Gambian citizen, with ancestry in Senegal. After working for the Peace Corps, he came to the US in 1990, where he’s lived ever since. Last December, he and Sianis traveled to Gambia and Senegal, searching for ways to help both countries’ citizens.

“When I’m looking at what we can do, I’m not looking at my family,” said Eliman, Nima’s father. “I’m looking at what [Sianis] and I can do to improve life over there.”

Eliman said that starting a charity foundation in Nima’s name with the specific purpose of helping Gambians and Senegalese is a natural progression, given his family history. Eliman named Nima after his sister, and considered her birth a promising sign for the future, since it followed the deaths of several of his relatives back in Africa.

“In six months, I lost seven members of my household,” said Gibba. “When Nima was born (in 1997), there was hope. So when she passed, we decided to do this giving back program in her honor.”

Nima was 11-years-old in 2009 when she was killed, while carpooling home from school, by a drunk driver, who initiated the crash by speeding through a red light on his way home from a strip club. Heather Mulgrave, 36, Connie Vermilyea, 34, and Jaziah Vermilyea, 10, were also killed in the crash.

A close friend of Nima’s, Jakobi Mulgrave, then 10, was seriously hurt, but survived and recovered from his physical injuries. The person responsible for the accident is currently serving a 20 year prison sentence.

Alexandra Sianis, during the couples' trip. Photo courtesy of Eliman Gibba

“[Nima] had such a yearning to help others, especially animals and kids,” said Sianis, Nima’s stepmother. “We’ve been hurting for two and a half years. So to carry that on for her gives us a sense of peace.”

Sianis and Eliman came back from their trip to Africa feeling overwhelmed. Both countries, they said, have many issues, which affect the quality and quantity of food, shelter, and water for their citizens. Among them, said Eliman and Sianis, are a lack of efficient stoves, a lack of adequate farming technology, and a lack of tradesman tools, such as sewing machines or wood carving equipment.

“They need funding to buy rice and fish; they struggle that way,” said Sianis. “Even simple things like immunizations for the kids, they don’t have.”

Because of this, the couple has decided to work on several aid projects at once. They’re using a woodshed in their backyard to store boxes and suitcases of clothes, toys, and soccer balls, which they plan to take with them on a future trip and give away. Additionally, they’re working with a local not-for-profit organization, Aprovecho, which specializes in making efficient rocket stoves for impoverished people worldwide.

They’re also planning to send a container of sewing machines, as a means of providing not just clothes to impoverished Africans, but employment.

“It helps women earn income on their own and sustain themselves, versus being dependent,” said Sianis. “So that’s what we’re supporting.”

Pictured Above: Nima Gibba. Photo courtesy of Eliman Gibba.

Eliman and Sianis are currently working with Amsel Media, a locally-owned media marketing company, to set up Nima’s Wish Foundation’s first major fundraiser: an outdoor music festival, which the couple said will happen in September.

“Then we want to make a compilation CD to raise awareness to what the organization is all about,” said Eliman.

To do this, they’re working with Kent Goodman of Amsel media, a local author who is also a board member of the Alliance for Democracy in Africa, which is based in Gambia. Goodman said he decided to work with the charity because he has faith in Eliman and Sianis’ ability to get funding to Africa efficiently.

“They know the actual people,” said Goodman. “The money goes from here, straight to whoever needs it over there.”

Members of the public interested in helping Nima’s Wish Foundation can send donations to P.O. Box  2497, Eugene, OR, 94705. They can also visit the Nima’s Wish Facebook page.