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flu shot

The flu season in Canada runs from around November through the spring. Typically, different strains hit at different times, but as Dr. Karin Goodison tells Q101 that hasn’t been the case this year.

“There year has been unique in that we are seeing three forms of influenza co-circulating. Typically, we see influenza A early in the season and B comes later in the spring. This year we’re seeing two types of influenza A along with influenza B all occurring simultaneously,” said Goodison.

The trio of strains generally affect different age groups, but together have essentially covered the field.

“We do see a greater impact on those under the age of 20, and really in the Interior, we’ve seen an impact on those under five and 10, for influenza B,” said Goodison. “Then influenza A (H3N3) affects our older population more, those greater than 65. Then we have a little H1N1 floating around that’s impacting those people of working age.”

“We’re seeing a mixed group of viruses hitting our young and old, but actually impacting everyone this year,” said Goodison.

Overall here in the Interior, the doctor believes we’ve just about reached the peak of flu season.


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Dan Albas HOC

Members of Parliament are set to return to Ottawa on Monday for the first sitting of the House of Commons in 2020.

While the Liberals have recently spoken to bringing forward legislation relating to gun control and the new NAFTA deal, local MP Dan Albas recently commented on legislation surrounding medically assisted dying.

“I also voiced some concerns with the proposed legislation, and several challenges have arisen in the legalization framework,’ wrote Albas. “One of those challenges comes from the fact that in order to comply with the terms of the legislation, one must be considered to be “at the end of life” with the “reasonable foresee-ability of natural death” imminent.”

“This can mean that someone who may otherwise meet the criteria and wish to access medical assistance in dying may have to suffer for a period of time until the end of life can be diagnosed as 'imminent'. In effect, this counters the original intent of the bill to medically assist individuals to end suffering from serious health challenges,” added Albas.

A recent ruling from the Quebec Superior Court found that part of the bill unconstitutional.

That has led to a review of the legislation by the Federal Government.

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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

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city hall

City Hall has made a slight change to the Grant in Aid process. In 2019, the Grant in Aid process included sponsorships and City Council had approximately $87,000 set aside to distribute to various groups.

This year, the Grant in Aid fund has been decreased to $50,000 and sponsorships have now been separated into its own fund.

The exact amount of funds available through sponsorship has not yet been set.

“It will be first come first serve for the 2020 season. City Council will decide how much funding will be available and look at each applicant,” said Will George.

As the program will be first come first serve, there is no cut-off date on applications. If there is still money in the fund, applications will be accepted.

The sponsorship funds are available to non-profits and community groups.

More info -


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Merritt Flourish Under the Sun

During last night’s budget meeting the topic of taxation was brought up in preliminary discussions.

Director of Finance Sheila Thiessen presented Council with three different scenarios for municipal taxation.

In 2019, the average Merritt house (worth $266,000) paid $1,378 in municipal taxes. Due to the increase in property assessments for many Merrittonians, if City Council chooses to keep the tax rate unchanged, the average house (now worth $289,000), would pay $1,497 or a net increase of $119 in municipal taxes this year.

Thiessen also presented a scenario were reserves and surplus would be spent to offset the partial tax-exemption of Merritt Green Energy. That scenario resulted in a $30 increase to the average home, which constitutes an actual decrease in the tax figure, offset by the increase in property assessment values.

The figures being presented to Council were for information purposes as they prepare to begin the task of deciding which capital projects will be tackled in 2020, and how much money will be needed to complete them.

“Our infrastructure needs a lot of care and attention; we can’t pay for all that with no money. Although everybody likes to see their taxes go that way (down), we’ve got some big work that needs to be down in our City if we’re going to maintain things,” said Coun. Kurt Christopherson.

The next budget meeting is February 4, the topic is scheduled to be grant in aid.


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Fire Prevention Winner

(Contest winner Nikhil Vinoj pictured with his family, Vinoj Kumaiz, Saritha Kumari and Naditha Saritha, along with the Merritt Fire Crew)

Fire prevention week runs every October under the theme of ‘not every hero wears a cape. Plan and practice your escape!’

During the week, the Office of the Fire Commissioner, Fire Prevention Officers' Association of BC and BC Professional Fire Fighters' Burn Fund host a contest for elementary students’ in grades k-7.

The students are asked to create a video or poster that reflects a fire prevention topic.

Local Bench Elementary School student Nikhil Vinoj was declared the regional winner, and yesterday the Fire Department came to his school with a few special prizes.

Nikhil won an iPad, a pizza party lunch for his class, and $500 for his school. His prizes were awarded in front of the whole school at an assembly.


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