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An RCMP helicopter from Kamloops is expected to join the search for a missing hunter in the Merritt area this morning.

Reports indicate a search for a man, hunting southwest of Merritt off the Coldwater Road, was launched last night.

It's understood there's been a cell phone connection between the man and authorities.

The search continued through the night.

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Today's the day country music fans have been waiting for since the cancellation of Mountainfest for 2010.

Claude Lelievre, the head of Active Mountain Entertainment says tickets for the 18th Mountainfest go on sale today.

Lelievre says the first acts for the July 7-10, 2011 festival will not be announced for another month or so, but adds that hasn't cut back on the enthusiasm so far.

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The Merritt Bantam Reps won their tournament in Winfield with a 3-0-1 record.

The Bantam Cents outscored their opponents 22-10 overall.

Meanwhile, Merritt's Atom Development team was in action yesterday and pounded Penticton 10-1.

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Merritt's Ty Pozzobon won just over $16,000 in bull riding at the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Edmonton to finish fourth in total earnings for the season.

Spencer Rutherford of Merritt and Clint Buhler of Okotoks, Alberta won just under $1,200 in team roping.

Rutherford finished with nearly $14,000 in earnings for the season.

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The seventeenth annual Samaritan's Purse Shoebox Campaign is continuing in the Nicola Valley for the rest of this week.

Sue Peachy, coordinator of the campaign in the Nicola Valley says they're to be turned in next Sunday.

The shoeboxes can be picked up, filled in the various age categories and gender and then returned again to either of Merritt's two dollar stores, Curve's Fitness for Women, Greyhound, or at most Merritt churches.

It's hoped the total of 400 shipped last year will be met or beaten this year.

For more information, call Peachy at 250-378-2717.

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