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Lack of teachers on call becoming problematic for School District 58.

Superintendent Stephen McNiven admitting the lack of T.O.C's has already had a negative impact within the district.

"There has been two, or three days we've struggled. One day in particular, when we had a couple of events going on. But, fortunately none beyond that."

The district continues to work to fill vacancies, but with shortages in other districts around the province, it is proving a challenging task.

"We seem to bring one or two on, and then at the same time lose one or two. It's a constant back and forth right now."

The shortage of T.O.C's across the province comes after as many as 3,500 new positions were created this fall to satisfy the Supreme Court of Canada decision that reinstated standards on class size and composition.

 
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Alternative approval process to determine whether to expand the Merritt fire hall starting again.
 
A clerical error lead to the initial alternative approval process for the $2.2-million expansion being cancelled in Novmeber.
 
After hearing from many residents following the mishap, director of corporate services Sean Smith confirms a physical ballot will not be necessary.
 
"You will note in the elector response form this go there is an availability to submit the form via email. We hope that will ease some of the pressure. The alternative approval process doesn't have the same legislative voting requirements as a municipal, provincial or federal election would have, so we have the ability to receive the votes via email."
 
Should 557 Merritt residents vote against it by Jan 18th, the fire hall expansion will not proceed.
 
The expansion is expected to cost the average Merritt ratepayer an additional $21 in taxes annually over a period not to exceed 25 years.
 
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Warmer conditions expected for Nicola Naturalists Society's annual Christmas Bird Count.
 
With temperatures expected to hover around the freezing mark on Saturday, president Alan Burger believes it could lead to some interesting discoveries.
 
"It hasn't been all that cold, so Nicola Lake is still not frozen. So that could lead to some interesting waterfowl."
 
69 species were counted last year.
 
"There is almost always something that shows up we didn't expect. For example, last year we had a very rare American Goldfinch that showed up at a feeder in Collettville. So, that was very interesting."
 
The data collected through the count is forwarded to the Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada, with the data used to track changes in the distribution and abundance of bird populations across North America.
 
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The provincial government has rejected the proposed KGHM Ajax mine near Kamloops, saying it will not issue it an environmental certificate. 
 
The government concluded the mine posed significant adverse effects to the environment, surrounding neighbourhoods, and to First Nations. 
 
Ajax mine project manager Chris Wild says they are disappointed by the decision and they're mulling their options.
 
"Yes, we're disappointed. This is the kind of project the community really needs."
 
Wild says they have several options to consider, including a judicial review by the Supreme Court of BC.
 
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Merritt masseur facing sexual assault charges.

RCMP Cpl Dan Moskaluk says, 55-year-old Michael Albert Jolly, the operator of A&M Holistic Wellness, has been charged with four counts of sexual assault stemming from alleged incidents that occurred in September and October, involving four separate victims.

The names of the victims are being withheld due to a court ordered publication ban.

"In cases of this nature, first and foremost we are concerned about community safety. This is a business that has been operating this year, and we do need to fully establish whether we have other victims that have been reluctant to come forward at this time. Or, if there is other information that can advance the investigation."

Jolly, who ran unsuccessfully for Mayor in 2014, is scheduled to appear in court in Merritt Dec 19th.

 
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