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Local naturalist heading back to Antarctica.

Nicola Naturalist Society president Dr Alan Burger is embarking on another trip to the arctic continent this week, to serve as a guide for a group touring the region.

"We have a small staff of people that guide a group of around 50. We all have knowledge of the area, so we drive the zodiacs and sort of explain things, in addition to giving lectures while on the ship."

It's the tenth time Burger will travel to Antarctica as a guide, but the first time in a couple years.

"When I was living in South Africa, I did my first serious studies of birds and animals in the sub-Antarctic. So, it takes me back to the place I started my career many, many years ago."

The six-week trip will be one of Burger's longest of his guide career.

 

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Partnership aims to improve literacy within School District 58.

"Our goal is to have 90% of our students reading by the end of Grade 2. And, the goal is to have that happen by 2021."

Superintendent Stephen McNiven announcing the district has entered a three-year partnership with Dr Janett Mort and Mike McKay, to address on-going concerns around literacy and self regulation in the district.

"It will involve primary teachers, and students support service teachers, coming together and working with the Joyful Literacy program. It really supports a lot of the good work that is going on in the district. The program should really help us setup our students up for a life of learning."

"Joyful Literacy" is a holistic approach to supporting students that emphasizes the skills, concepts and experiences most conducive to successful literacy education while also acknowledging the power of relationship and positive learning environments.

 

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City of Merritt won't be using potential tax revenue from legal marijuana sales to prop up 2018 budget.
 
Because the city has yet to learn really any details about potential tax revenue, director of finance Sheila Thiessen says any potential revenue from the sale of legal marijuana won't be included when compiling the 2018 budget, or five-year-plan.
 
"Right now, the more pressing issues are zoning, and bylaw enforcement. But, we continue to wait to see how much potentially it could add to the city's revenues. Until we hear something more concrete, we won't be working it into our plans."
 
Recreational marijuana is set to become legal in Canada July 1st.
 
Ottawa has said tax revenues from the sale of marijuana would be shared on a 50-50 basis with the provinces, but there has been talk recently that each province may receive a larger percentage.
 
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Interior Health indicating it is still too early to tell how effective this year's flu shot will be.
 
Medical Health Officer Dr Karen Goodison says the number of cases being reported is on par with years past, despite data from the Southern Hemisphere showing the flu vaccine could only be 10% effective in fighting against the Influenza A (H3N2) virus.
 
"The BC Centre for Disease Control has an expert following this. She has been monitoring the situation in the Southern Hemisphere very closely, as we often get clues on the type of flu season it will be here by looking at them. They have certainly had a difficult season when it comes to the H3N2 strain, and the flu shot not being very effective against it."
 
Interior Health has recorded cases of both Influenza A (H3N2) and Influenza B this fall.
 
Despite not knowing how effective the flu shot will be this winter, Goodison says getting a flu shot is still your best defense against getting sick.
 
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Record number of dogs licensed in City of Merritt this year.
 
Bylaw officer Elizabeth Biggs says a concentrated effort was made to identify dogs previously not licensed by the city.
 
By the end of the year, the number of dogs licensed reached 970.
 
"The numbers didn't increase a ton, only by about 20. However the last cuple years we have made licensing dogs a priority, so finding new dogs to license hasn;t been as easy."
 
Biggs says renewal forms for 2018 have gone out for all dogs licensed by the City of Merritt this year.
 
Since 2013, the number of dogs licenced by the City of Merritt has more than doubled.
 
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