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Merritt's Emergency Shelter opened it's doors again for the season last night.

Kelly Donaldson of the Community Policing Office says it opened at 7 o'clock last night.

The local shelter offers up to 20 beds to those in need when the temperature dips below -10 degrees.

More information on the Extreme Weather Response Program and emergency shelters is online at: www.bchousing.org/programs/ESP

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Going into the month of December the amount of rainfall in the Nicola Valley is about 22% above normal for the year to date.

Merritt's Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Tom Lacey says we can expect to gain even more moisture through December.

Lacey encourages people to take the time to do their basic planning and preparations to make sure they're ready in the event of an incident that they can basically look after themselves for the first part.

 

 

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A Mexican man accused of trying to smuggle 97 kilograms of cocaine into Kelowna via Merritt doesn't want to come back to Canada.

RCMP say Victor Rodriguez, currently being held in California where he was arrested, is fighting extradition and wants to go back to Mexico.

Police say Rodriguez along with three other men accepted a fruit grinder machine from Argentina filled with drugs in September.

The group is alleged to have brought it to a ranch near Merritt, where RCMP were waiting.

50 year old Barry Ready was arrested on scene and Clifford Montgomery was nabbed at his home in West Kelowna.  Rodriguez and Tariq Aslam were found, after a brief flight from police, in California.

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The mountain pine beetle epidemic has left BC forest firefighters with far more challenging conditions.

Fire management specialist Dana Hicks says with the epidemic moving from its red needle to a more grey stage, fires are beginning to spot in far greater distances.

The spotting distance in a normal fire year would be just three to four hundred meters.

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Known as one of the main economic drivers in the Nicola Valley, the future of Community Futures looks intact for at least another six months once their current contract with the City expires December 31.

Patrick Lindsay, General Manager and CEO for CF in Merritt, says the board met on the matter on Monday and decided that the extension of its contract with the City by six month isn't ideal, but is better than nothing.

The City has been paying $120,000 annually toward operation of Community Futures.

CF has spent between $45,000 and $50,000 a year and has asked the City to carry the full total of up to $170,000 a year.

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