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Gold Country past president Ida Makaro says Merritt is a paid up member for another year, but she's not sure where it'll go next year.

Makaro says specified area taxation is not being accepted well by Merritt and a couple of other member communities.

Makaro says unfortunately she doesn't feel Gold Country did as well as they should have in selling the idea to Merritt City Council and that Council doesn't understand what Gold Country is trying to do.

She says there's a lot of work and lobbying to do and a lot of work to do in renogotiating a contract with Merritt.

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As temperatures are forecast closer to the zero mark for the next week or so, the Extreme Weather Alert issued by Shelter From The Storm Coordinator Jody Loewen has been lifted.

That means the shelter at Crossroads Community Church will remain closed until the temperature dips back down to minus 8 degrees or colder. It will be open every Monday as scheduled at 8 pm regardless of temperature.

The shelter opened December 29 when the temperature dropped well below the minus 8 degree mark. Loewen says the closure was ordered yesterday.

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The race to lead the New Democrats in BC is expected to attract at least two more candidates in the coming days, including the MLA for Fraser-Nicola.

The party is searching for a new leader after Carole James resigned last month, and so far the only declared candidate is marijuana activist Dana Larsen.

But today, Nicholas Simons, one of the dissident MLAs who helped push James out the door, has scheduled a news conference in which he's expected to declare his candidacy.

And tomorrow, Fraser-Nicola MLA Harry Lali, who was also involved in the caucus revolt, is expected to enter the race as well.  Lali has been entertaining the idea for several months.

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Snowfall so far this winter on the Coquihalla Highway is not much different than it's been in recent years. Bob Gilowski of V-S-A Highway Maintenance calls it average so far.

However, Gilowski says the amount so far is contrary to what was originally thought at the start of the year.

Gilowski says regardless of trends, it is winter, and winter driving conditions are expected for at least the next three months, especially at the higher elevations.

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The City will continue it's battle against the beetle again this Spring.

Tom Lacey, Merritt's Emergency Preparedness Coordinator and forestry consultant, says they'll have a look at the situation above the Bench again.

The project to clean up the interface on Merritt's Northside has been on going now for five years.

Lacey says the forest is now open and has a lot less potential to sustain a fire adjacent to the City.

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