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More people have already died of a drug overdose in BC this year than all of 2016.

The BC Coroners Service reports that 1013 people are believed to have died from illicit drug overdose this year, which is enough to set a new annual record for the province.

In response, spokesperson Andy Watson says a contaminated drug supply is continuing to put drug users at risk.

"This isn't just a problem that's happening in high risk areas. This is a problem that's happening at private homes, it's happening in hotel rooms, and it's affecting all walks of life. And I think the message is no drug supply is safe."

A record five fatal drug overdoses have occurred in Merritt this year, after four in 2016.

 

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City of Merritt not interested in bypassing grant-in aid process for the Nicola Valley Arts Council.

The Nicola Valley Arts Council was requesting to become an annual line item in the city's budget, in order to increase their financial security, and eliminate the need to submit a grant-in aid application every year.

That request was denied at Tuesday's regular meeting, with Mayor Neil Menard explaining that its a slippery slope.

"We tried it before, and we found it's very dangerous for us to do that. Take the rodeo association for example, they come to us every year, so why can't they do the same thing, or any other organization for that matter. I think having them apply for the funds annually is good for us. It allows us to hear exactly what is happening with the organizations."

The Nicola Valley Arts Council were seeking between $10,000 and $12,000 annually, which would then be matched by the BC Arts Council.

 

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Merritt Centennials bus vandalized.
 
Merritt RCMP Cst Tracy Dunsmore confirming sometime between Friday night and Wednesday morning someone broke into the team bus, which was parked on Walnut Ave.
 
"Somebody went in and rifled through it. There was some damage and a TV was stolen, but we have to interview the driver."
 
Dunsmore says there are no suspects, but there were a number of sheds, and vehicles broken into in the Collettville area over the long weekend, so they may be related.
 
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Merritt RCMP or Crimestoppers.
 
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A number of cars broken into at a Merritt apartment building.
 
Merritt RCMP Cst Tracy Dunsmore confirms they received a number of calls this morning about someone breaking into vehicles at the VIBE apartments on Menzies St.
 
"One lady's windshield was smashed, but it doesn't look like they got into the vehicle. And, there was another vehicle parked that somebody jimmied the door and punched the lock, but again they were unable to take the vehicle."
 
A suspect wearing a green jacket and hat was caught on video surveillance, but officers were unable to locate them once on scene and currently have no suspects.
 
With there being a noticeable spike in break-ins within the City of Merritt in recent weeks, Dunsmore is asking people to be extra vigilant, and report anyone suspicious to Merritt RCMP or Crimestoppers.
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Another home in Merritt broken into.
 
Merritt RCMP Cst Tracy Dunsmore says they were called to a home on Nicola Ave last night around 11pm, after a reported break-in.
 
"The couple came home after going for a walk. The gate was open, the garage door open, and a pile of items were stacked inside the garage door as if somebody was coming back."
 
A vintage bike is among the items missing.
 
Dunsmore says no suspects were observed by the couple at the scene, and asks anyone that with additional information contact Merritt RCMP or Crimestoppers.
 
This is the second reported break-in to a home in Merritt this week, after a burglar was chased out of a Parker Ave residence on Sunday evening.
 
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