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Most people in Merritt should receive their assessment notices in the mail before the end of this week, if they haven't already.

Deputy Assessor Graham Held of the B-C Assessment Authority says Merritt hasn't seen much change with this year's notices.

Held says the first thing people should do if they are thinking of appealing their notice is check information online at  He says there's some good information on the site.

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City Council is behind a push to involve the community in celebrating Merritt's 100th birthday this year.

City Councillor Dave Baker is challenging men in the community to grow a Centennial beard...

Baker says people can accept the challenge by registering with Neil McLeod or enquiring at City Hall.

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The holidays officially end today for schools, government offices at all levels and for most businesses.

And Karen Flick, Manager of the Nicola Valley & District Food Bank, says it's back to regular hours again today.

In December, the Food Bank received it's operational grant of $40,000 for 2011 and donations toward the end of 2010 came in at about $10,000, helping to wrap up the year on a positive note.

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"It throws a curve at us" is the reaction of possible NDP leadership candidate Harry Lali on the party's gender issue.

Lali says the NDP has two options: either the Treasurer or President steps down or they could simply change the party's constitution.

Lali sasy the problem could also end up meaning nothing if female candidates enter the leadership race and one of them wins.

An obscure rule in the party's consitution dictates a woman must occupy one of the NDP's top three positions at any given time.

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The Nicola-Similkameen School District is cautioning drivers as hundreds of students head back to school this morning.

Officials advise motorists to be especially cautious in school zones and to slow down accordingly.

School returns throughout District 58 after the annual winter break.

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