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Potential strike still looming at Aspen Planers.

United Steelworkers Union Local 1-417 President Marty Gibbons says the workers employed by the local sawmill, and 3,000 forestry workers in the region are in a legal position for a work stoppage.

The Interior Forest Relations Board met some of the unions demands last month, but with talks stalled again Gibbons says a strike could happen at anytime.

"The one thing about rotating strikes is there are always so much more enjoyable for the employer when they are a surprise. So, at this point in time we are in a legal strike position. And, our membership is pretty angry, so I can't guarantee there is not going to be a strike."

The last contract for workers at Aspen Planers and other forestry workers in Local 1-417 expired July 1st.

Union members around the region have staged rotating strikes this month to show their displeasure.

 

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The Nicola Nordic Ski Club is holding out hope that the Kane Valley trails will be open over the holidays.
 
A mild, wet winter has kept the cross-country ski trails east of Merritt from opening yet.
 
But Director Kate Anderson says the 50-km network of groomed cross-country skiing trails still could open in time for the Christmas holidays.
 
"Generally, by Christmas time everything is going. We generally have enough snow by then and can start grooming. But, that's up to Mother Nature."
 
In partnership with the Ministry of Forests, the Nicola Nordic Ski Club has been maintaining the Kane Valley cross country ski trail system since 1991.
 
The trail conditions are updated daily over the winter at www.nicolanordic.ca.
 
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Influenza cases are on the rise as we approach the holiday season.

Dr Danuta Skowronski of the BC Centre for Disease Control says it's been pretty quiet up to this point, but there's always a heightened chance the virus could spread over the holiday season as people gather to celebrate with friends and family.

She's urging people to get their flu shot now, to protect themselves.

"We're anticipating further increases going into the holiday season, which means the virus is going to be ping-ponging across age groups as they're mixing during social gatherings."

H1N1 has been the dominant strain so far, different from last year, when H3N2 was dominating, which Skowronski says targets the elderly mostly.

 

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The average resident paid $1,284 in taxes to the City of Merritt in 2018.
 
It ranks 97th in BC out of the 162 municipalities listed in the annual statistics released by the province.
 
Despite ranking in the middle of the pack again, Mayor Linda Brown is still of the belief taxes are too high and is focused on lowering the tax rate heading into 2019 budget deliberations.
 
"At the very least I would like to end up with a zero percent increase. We're looking at increased assessments again, I don't know how much it is, but I understand there will be a small increase which gives us a little leeway there."
 
The average Merritt resident paid a total of $3,487 in property taxes this year when including taxes paid to the regional district, as well as for the school and hospital tax.
 
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The new CEO at Interior Health says sustainability is her top priority across the health region.
 
On the job less than two months, Susan Brown says she is focused on improving surgery wait times, wants to build on mental health and substance use strategies, as well as improving Aboriginal health initiatives.
 
"One of the things we will be looking at in addition to those is our culture within the workplace and building pride in what we do."
 
Brown has worked over 30-years in health care both here in Canada and the United Kingdom.
 
She replaces Chris Mazurkewich, who announced his intention to retire earlier this year.
 
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