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Cooler conditions prompting the City of Merritt to reopen trails.
 
Merritt Fire Rescue Department Chief David Tomkinson confrims as of noon today the Tom Lacey Memorial Trail, Norgaard Lookout and Windy Canyon Trail are all once again open for use.
 
"With the recent cooler temperatures and little bit of precipitation we have had, it has allowed us to rescind the closures." 
 
Despite the trail closure being rescinded, Tomkinson says the Fire Danger Rating is still at HIGH, and those using the trails still need to exercise caution.
 
The trail closures went into effect back on Aug 3rd, due to the EXTREME wildfire risk.
 
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Nicola Valley Indigenous Court set to start operating in October.
 
Local lawyer Cliff Thorstenson says the announcement follows nearly two years of planning to have a First Nations Court established in Merritt.
 
"We have been working for a while on this. We have had as many as nine Elders that have expressed an interest in participating, and all have taken the training, and most participated in a mock trail earlier this year." 
 
The Nicola Valley Indigenous Court, which will sit once a month, and is now the fifth operating in the province, with First Nations Courts already existing in New Westminster, Duncan, Kamloops and North Vancouver.
 
"It looks like the first sitting will be October 25th. And, there is also a grand opening that will take place on October 10th." 
 
A First Nation Court deals with provincial court matters, but an Elders advisory panel, trained in the court system with knowledge of traditions and cultural practices, presides over the process.
 
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Tips from the public proving valuable to Merritt RCMP.
 
Since an appeal was made through the local media back in July, S/Sgt Sheila White says tips from the public have led to three high-profile drug busts.
 
"We are finding we are getting a lot more people phoning into us, offering tips on a variety of things, not just drug investigations. Also on suspicious occurrences, and other things. They all add up, and hope they keep coming."
 
Merritt RCMP seized a significant quantity of illicit drugs from the three-high profile busts.
 
If you have a tip, White instructs to either call the detachment, or Crime Stoppers, which could lead to a financial reward.
 
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Nicola Valley Arts Council looking for certainty moving forward from the City of Merritt.
 
Vice-president Jean Kiegerl says the hope is that the city will agree to annual stipend, which can then be matched by an annual grant from the BC Arts Council.
 
It would also mean no more annual Grant-In Aid requests.
 
"We need to stabilize or funding so we can a certain amount coming in, and not having our volunteers worrying about whether that they can pay the bills for a program they actually have. It really inhibits their creativity."
 
The Nicola Valley Arts Council, which has seen its membership rebound in 2017, is hoping to receive between $10,000 and $12,000 annually from the City of Merritt.
 
The request was received for information by Mayor and Council.
 
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Thompson Nicola Cariboo United Way looking for some heroes.

The organization is launching it's 2017 Annual Campaign this morning in Kamloops.

Executive director Danalee Baker says they enter the final year of their three-year campaign to raise $6.5-million with $2.2-million left to go.

"Obviously we would love to exceed that. The need grows every year, so we know the need has already surpassed what we are trying to raise. And, of course with the wildfires this year, its an extra burden on our social services and non-profit agencies. So, whatever we need to do, we're ready to go."

Baker says the theme for the campaign this year is "Super Heroes."

Funds raised through the campaign are being used to support people and programing in the Thompson, Nicola and Cariboo regions.

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