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More resources than ever to deal with homelessness in Merritt.
 
While there still are many 'absolute' homeless people calling Merritt home, Ask Wellness' Coordinator of Merritt Clinical Supports Kerri Cooke says more avenues than ever exist for them to get help locally.
 
"Our access to housing relationships that we have built with community partners, and even just members of the community during the Kengard fire back in March, there is an awareness. And the fact that there is that awareness, it makes our community more welcoming for all people, no matter their situation." 
 
The annual Ask Wellness Merritt Homeless Count is Thursday.
 
In 2016, 15 people living in the city were identified as 'absolute' homeless; Eight males and seven females.
 
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RCMP asking for assistance locating missing Spences Bridge man.
 
Cpl Dan Moskaluk says 48-year-old Luke Neville was last seen driving his vehicle on October 9th.
 
"Shortly after being reported missing, his vehicle, a white Ford E-250 van, was found burnt-out on forest service road 20 kilometres outside of Spences Bridge."
 
Foul play has not been either determined or ruled out at this point, although Moskaluk admits anytime there's a burnt-out vehicle connected to a missing person case, it raises red flags.
 
Neville is described as Caucasian, six-foot-three inches tall, with brown eyes and short hair.
 
Anyone was has seen him, or has more information about his disappearance is asked to contact Lytton RCMP or Crime Stoppers.
 
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Community Futures Nicola Valley using Small Business Week as a platform to help area businesses.
 
Business Development Officer Manuel Olguin says each of the seven events planned in Merritt this week are designed to help area businesses succeed.
 
"It's not easy, its always challenging. We have partnered with the City of Merritt, and chamber of commerce to try and deliver what the business community needs. The events this week were chosen as a direct result of what we heard over the summer during the Merritt business walk."
 
Last year, Community Futures Nicola Valley issued $510,037 in loans to area small businesses, which directly lead to 35 jobs, 28 of which are full-time.
 
A complete listing of the Small Business Week events is listed on their website, www.cfdcnv.com.
 
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Rash of break-in's concerning Merritt's Mayor.
 
Neil Menard says the number of homes, trailers, vehicles and shed's have been broken into in the Merritt area in recent weeks is alarming.
 
He says he plans to address the issue with Merritt RCMP.
 
"All of a sudden there has been a big rash of break-ins and damage, so its a concern. But I also know the RCMP are concerned as well." 
 
With criminal activity on the rise of late, Merritt RCMP are asking residents to be vigilant and to report anyone suspicious to the detachment or Crime Stoppers.
 
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Minister of Citizens Services suggesting a regional partnership is needed to keep visitor services at Exit 286.

City of Merritt officials met with Jinny Sims at last month's UBCM to see if the pending closure of the Merritt Visitor Centre could be reconsidered.

While she couldn’t meet with them again during her visit to the city on Friday, Sims suggests a regional partnership could be a way to keep the doors open.

"The cost of sharing the fee, is so much less. Then you are only paying small amounts per community, where as if you are doing the whole amount the costs can be prohibitive."

The Merritt Visitor Centre at Exit 286 is set to close January 12, 2018, and following that will initially be run out of the Baillie House.

 

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