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A special avalanche warning has been issued by Avalanche Canada for BC mountains this weekend. 
 
Senior Avalanche Forecaster Grant Helgeson says the risk of a naturally occuring avalanache is low, but with lots of heavy snow falling this week and an unstable layer, the risk of a human caused slide is very high.
 
"For folks who have avalanche training and can actually identify non-avalanche terrain and go out there and recreate in the trees and have that skill it might be a good time to go to the mountains. For those without avalanche training they should actually stick to places where the avalanche danger is actually controlled for them like ski areas."
 
The warning covers the Purcells, Kootenay Boundary, North Rockies, the Columbias, Cariboos, Vancouver Island, Sea to sky country, and the south and north coastal mountains.
 
The warning will be in place until at least Sunday.
 
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Duty counsel for the Nicola Valley Indigenous Court promoted to the BC Supreme Court.
 
Raymond Phillips has been appointed as a provincial court judge in Kamloops.
 
A member of the Lytton First Nation - Nlaka'pamux, Phillips was called to the bar in 1994 and articled with the federal Department of Justice before joining the St'at'imc/ Nlaka'pamux Legal Services Society as a staff lawyer. 
 
Since 2002, Phillips has been a general practitioner, helping clients with a variety of legal issues, including criminal law, real estate, contracts and settlements. 
 
He has served as duty counsel for the Nicola Valley Indigenous Court since it opened in 2017.
 
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Above seasonal temperatures are expected for the Nicola Naturalists Society's 20th Christmas Bird Count.

Despite expecting above freezing temperatures on Sunday, President Alan Burger isn't sure whether they can eclipse the 65 species counted in 2017.

"I suspect that we won’t get a record number this Christmas. It had been very cold, and a lot of the smaller ponds are frozen over. That often keeps many of the water fowl species away."

The Nicola Naturalists Society's Christmas Bird Count was first held in Merritt in 1995.

The data collected through Sunday's count is forwarded to the Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada, with the data used to track changes in the distribution and abundance of bird populations across North America.

 

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City of Merritt not seeing much of an increase in revenue from tickets after hiring a second bylaw officer this summer.

Director of Corporate Services Sean Smith says from July 3rd to Sept 21st the city's two bylaw officers responded to 241 incidents.

"There was a slight increase in tickets, but it wasn't gigantic. But there was quite a bit of work done to streamline some of our internal procedures. But, given there was only a three month overlap before one of our bylaw officers moved on, there really isn’t enough data to give any deep analysis."

Since Sept 21st, the city has operated with just one officer, but Smith says they are actively trying to fill the second position.

Because the city already budgeted for a second seasonal bylaw officer, the additional cost to employ a second officer full-time is $32,500 a year.

 

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Survey shows clear need for increasing the number of rental options in Merritt.
 
 
A survey was launched in September to find out who needs it most, and communications officer Marcie Good says they received over 200 responses, with more than half saying they do not currently have adequate housing.
 
"Number one, that supply is very low and there is a lot of people living in sub-standard conditions. Many are sort of just on the verge, where their next step is homelessness."
 
Good says they plan to apply for a building permit from the City of Merritt for the initial building by early next year, and if all goes according to plan could start construction of it in 2019.
 
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