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It's not exactly a building boom, but at least the residential home building is beginning to pick up again in rural areas.

The latest numbers from the Thompson Nicola Regional District look much better.

Building Services Manager Ron Popoff says after a slow start to the year the numbers for residential construction permits firmed up somewhat in June.

Year to date residential permits approved are off about 50-per cent.. 49 after six months this year, compared to 94 in the same period a year ago.

(With files from CHNL)

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As the Merritt Mountain Music Festival returns to Merritt today and the Chamber of Commerce Street Mall is open as of 9 a.m., the crowds are arriving in Merritt to celebrate.

Jennifer Eaton, President of the Merritt and District Chamber of Commerce says it's the type of activity she likes to see.

The Chamber of Commerce has a good number of vendors signed up and displaying their goods and services to the community in the 2000 block of Quilchena Avenue and the adjoining half-blocks of Garcia Street.

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Police in Merritt are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst as today marks the return of the Merritt Mountain Music Festival.

Constable Tracy Dunsmore says they aren't sure how the turnout will be.

Dunsmore says they are preparing for former numbers and police will be focussing on keeping the peace on the highways and in the community, leaving site security to the in-house crews.

(With files from CHNL)

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Along with the crowds for Mountainfest and all the downtown activities between now and Sunday, motorists are reminded of some major route changes through the city.

Corporal Kelly Bartsch of the Merritt R-C-M-P says with Mountainfest comes the one way street patterns in the City.

Bartsch says there is southbound one way traffic down Voght Street to the West Gate of the festival site and one way traffic returns by heading east along the truck route from Midday Valley Road onto Houston Street in Diamond Vale.

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The President and C-E-O of National Music Canada in Calgary says the opening of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame is a great step for music in Canada.

Andrew Mosker says the opening of the Hall of Fame last night in Merritt is great news for the Canadian music industry.

Mosker says it speaks volumes for the collaborative spirit and the true testament of where Canadian country music sits in the music repertoire and of Canadian music in general.

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