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While the call went out last week for nominations in this year's Merritt and District Chamber of Commerce Gala Business Awards, the call is now going out for people to get on board buying their tickets for the event, which is going to see a bit of a twist in presentation this year according to Chamber President Etelka Gillespie with dinner and a dance.

The Gala kicks off at 6 pm on Saturday, February 12.

People are encouraged to reserve their tickets early at the Chamber Office on Voght Street.

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A snowmobiler stranded in the Coquihalla Lakes area south of Merritt will be rescued by ground crews this morning.

The man got lost yesterday afternoon when his sled got stuck in a snow bank and he tried to walk out.

He's been maintaining contact with his cell phone.

A high risk of avalanches kept ground crews from going in last night, but the risk has diminished and a helicopter brought in from Comox has been sent home.

(Corus Radio Network)

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A rescue operation is underway south of Merritt for a snowmobiler missing off the Coquihalla Highway.

A Search and Rescue helicopter is being deployed to the Coquihalla Lakes Recreational area amid avalanche fears.

Contact with the unidentified man has been made via his cell phone overnight.

Last month, a Maple Ridge man was killed following an avalanche while riding with a group of about a dozen snowmobilers in the same area.

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After five years of pine beetle control on Merritt's north side there's far less potential for fire.

Merritt Emergency Preparedness Coordinator and forestry expert Tom Lacey says the open forest is providing far greater fire protection for Merritt.

Lacey says the work to reduce the fuels and protect the community will continue in the Spring.

He says he'll be working with the Fire Department in conducting some under burns to manage the fuels again this year.

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What a difference a few days can make on area roads and highways.

From ice and snow we go to flooding today.

Highways officials report flooding on a stretch of Highway 5A near Stump Lake about 57-killometres north of Merritt, where there's single lane alternating traffic.

Anyone driving the old route between Merritt and Kamloops is advised to slow down along that stretch of highway.

Meanwhile most roads are reported to be in decent winter condition with some slippery sections on the Okianagan-Connector and the Coquihalla Highway.

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