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On Request service a major upgrade for the Nicola Valley Transportation Society.
 
Starting in January, manager Frank Trenholm says the On Request service will be offered during a five-hour window on weekdays.
 
He says the feasibility study conducted last year shows the service should be well utilized. 
 
"The demographics are changing, and people are getting older, they are retiring and less are using their car. For those reasons, ridership should continue to increase."
 
Trenholm says the cost and procedures for On Request service will be unveiled in the coming weeks.
 
The new third bus will also expand service within the City of Merritt and Lower Nicola, as well as allow the society to operate on Sundays for the first time.
 
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Merritt Post Office giving residents an extra day to receive mail before Christmas.
 
The post office's Denise Arnold confirming they will be open Saturday December 23rd, from 10 to 3pm.
 
"They way the calendar is we just felt if would be a big help. It will give people one last day to pick up their letters or parcels, especially for those that can't make it in during the week.
 
It's the first time ever the Merritt Post Office will be operating on a Saturday.
 
Arnold is also reminding that the last day to mail a letter or package, and have it arrive within Canada is December 18th, and within BC, December 20th.
 
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Rockin' River Music Fest holding off on "huge" lineup announcement until the New Year.
 
Organizer Kenny Hess says the plan is to announce the entire 2018 lineup at one time.
 
"There's a couple of artists that we have to hold off on announcing. There's certain guidelines that we need to follow, and the hope is to announce the entire lineup, which we are very excited about, at the same time early in the New Year. I think from top to bottom people will be really happy with who we have coming" 
 
Ticket sales for the BC Day long weekend music festival were halted in November, but Hess promises the price will not go up when sales resume, and is expecting the biggest crowd since moving to Merritt.   
 
"We feel like we are moving closer to the numbers where we think this thing can be at. We expect to have a crowd at least 50% bigger than last year."
 
Eric Church remains the only artist confirmed for the 2018 Rockin' River Music Fest.
 
Willy Nelson, Toby Keith, Sam Hunt and Dierks Bentley have all been headliners since the festival moved to the Nicola Valley from Mission in 2014.
 
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Busy opening month at Merritt's emergency cold weather shelter.

"We had 77 beds used by males, and 9 by females. So, 86 total stays, by a total of 39 individuals."

The numbers are down in terms of overnight stays from 2016, but Coordinator Ava Dean says the 39 people is on par, despite favourable weather for most of the month.

Dean says they are also served a lot of meals, with funding now in place to operate 24/7.

"We have already served over 200 meals. But, not only to people using the shelter. We have a lot of people in the community that are having difficulty meeting ends meet. They have a home, so they don't stay here, just come here to have a meal."

Dean says there is currently a need for daytime volunteers, and anyone interested can apply at shelter, which is located at 2038 Nicola Ave.

 

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Angel's Animal Rescue stepping in to save dogs threatened by Manitoba dog culls.
 
Director Natalie McPhate says arrangements have been made to bring five dogs from Northern Manitoba to Merritt next week, with the goal of re-homing them.
 
"They'll be 14 days with me while they are quarrentiend. At that time the will get the shots they need, to make sure they are healthy. They will likely be muts, that have bread with other muts. Usually larger breed dogs, like shepard crosses, or lab crosses, or husky crosses."
 
Stray dogs have been particularly problematic on First Nation Communities in Manitoba, which leads to several problems, most notably a pack-like mentality that arises when groups of dogs join together to roam about the community. 
 
McPhate says the dogs being brought to Merritt will be available for adoption locally sometime in January.
 
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