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Gold Country is still holding out hope that the City of Merritt will buy into local area taxation and remain a member after this year.

City Councillor Mike Goetz says there are concerns of what it could end up costing the taxpayers of Merritt.

Councillor Goetz says some of the suggestions to Gold Country would be to approach the Hotel-Motel Association, restaurants and gas stations.

He says these are the people who really benefit from Merritt being a member.

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Highway crews are dealing with more snow and compact conditions on the Coquihalla Highway today.

Bob Gilowski of VSA Highway Maintenance says there are some rough spots similar to pot-holing.

Gilowski says while crews are working to clean off the road surface, he's keeping an eye on the rising temperatures which are likely to bring a mix of rain and snow at the higher elevations through the weekend.

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Merritt's Mayor is anxious to wrap up projects on the books from last year and proceed with new activities in 2011.

Susan Roline says it's key to get the contracts for economic development and tourism and marketing in place as quickly as possible.

Roline says with the huge number of baby boomers heading into retirement and Merritt an ideal retirement location, the City has to be poised and ready to go.

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The Coquihalla Highway northbound is closed about 14 km. south of Merritt as a result of a crash involving two semis.

Northbound traffic coming out of the Lower Mainland is being held at Hope for the moment. In that crash, two people were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Even getting to that point will be a challenge for the next while. A section of Highway 1 between Rosedale and Hope is blocked because of a rock slide.

And the Trans-Canada has more problems east of Kamloops for traffic heading to Alberta. Avalanche fears have caused a closure between Revelstoke and Golden and then again east of Golden.

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The newest member of the Merritt Centennials hits the ice at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena for the first time today as 20-year-old defenceman J.P. Witkop joins the team for practice after arriving from Grande Prairie yesterday.

Witkop was signed from the AJHL's Storm at the trade deadline on Monday. He'll play his first game with the Cents on Saturday at home against Westside.

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