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A busy week for Merritt RCMP responding to break and enters has led to the arrest of a pair of Merritt residents.

On October 24, Merritt RCMP were called to a local tow yard where employees had caught two individuals in the middle of a break and enter,” began Staff Sgt. Lorne Wood. “Members attended and arrested a 31-year-old female and a 32-year-old male resident of Merritt. Both subjects are well known to local members.”

The female suspect was released pending a court date.

“The male suspect was held in custody for a court appearance this week with a charge of breaking and entering and possession of break-in instruments are being recommended,” added Wood.


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Church Cheque

(Photo L-R, Christina Miller, Pastor Mike Stone, Rev. Elaine Diggle)

On January 11, 2019, the Murray Church was burnt to the ground in an alleged case of arson. That same night, the Crossroads Community Church was also broken in to and set ablaze, however that fire was able to be quickly extinguished.

Yesterday Pastor Mike Stone from Crossroads went to Trinity United to present the Church with a cheque to help in their rebuild efforts.

“We just felt it was important as churches that we help out other churches in the valley. We wanted to present something and show that we are supporting Trinity as they work to rebuild the Murray United Church,” said Stone.

“It helps us feel that we aren’t just standing out at the end of a branch waiting from someone else to cut it off at the trunk. That because we have other friends in the churches as well as friends in the whole community that support what we’re doing, and to know that the support is there,” said Trinity Rev. Elaine Diggle.

Because of the age of the Murray Church, they couldn’t have insurance on the building, meaning the rebuild must be fully funded through donations.

The alleged arsonist’s court date has been set for June of 2020.


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city merritt council

The meeting was scheduled as a presentation to City Council about the current plans for the marketing and communications department. However, the evening quickly deteriorated into a conversation about staff qualifications, proper procedure and the idea of ‘time and place.’

Will George, Manager of Communications, was presenting to council the current plans for his department and looking for input on what direction to proceed. CAO Scott Hildebrand did note that the department was only created six weeks ago.

That’s when things began to heat up around the table as Coun. Mike Bhangu questioned George’s qualifications for heading the communications department. 

“Where did you gain the skills to put together an ad?” Asked Bhangu. “Because I’m looking at this ad compared to others and I believe that these other ads are much better. Our ad seems to be lacking.”

“He’s been hired by our CAO,” began Mayor Linda Brown. “If you have a question about the project itself, yes, but I think personal qualifications are not part of this table.”

The meeting did get back on track after that back and forth until it came to an abrupt end following a heated exchange between Bhangu, Kurt Christopherson and the Mayor.

“The purpose of this meeting is communications and marketing, the content of our marketing is vital,” said Bhangu. “I don’t understand why others are not concerned that there is content pushed out that might not be properly created.”

“I don’t know that it’s we aren’t concerned, I think there is a different venue available (to have this conversation),” said Brown.

Following an exchange from Bhangu and Christopherson, the Mayor put an end to the meeting, but not before apologies were issued from Coun. Travis Fehr, the Mayor, and CAO Hildebrand to Mr. George.

City Council will reconvene this evening at 6 pm for a committee of the whole focused on the budget.


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Albas Victory

While MP Dan Albas will be returning to the opposition benches of the House of Commons, a minority parliament should allow the Conservatives and Albas more opportunity to get things done.

“In a minority parliament the Government doesn’t get to set the agenda, the opposition parties have a greater voice in terms of being able to put forward motions,” said Albas. “Of course, because the government doesn’t have a majority it often has to be more conciliatory and work with opposition parties.”

While forestry will be front of mind for Albas as he heads back to the nation’s capital, it’s not the only issue facing those in Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.

“There are many things in our riding in addition to forestry such as infrastructure that needs to be addressed,” said Albas. “Rural broadband, the Liberals talked a good game about it in the last parliament and a lot during the election, but they have failed to connect rural communities. Particularly, when we have many rural communities in our area and across the Interior that don’t have proper cell service or broadband, how do you expect these rural areas to attract entrepreneurs?”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did meet with the Governor General this morning, but a date has not been made public of when parliament will be reconvened.


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On Sunday, a 21-year-old Merritt resident was arrested for assaulting a Mountie.

RCMP Staff Sgt. Lorne Wood provided the details of the interaction.

“A member was dealing with a group of people in an alleyway off Voght Street and dumping out some liquor. One of the subjects, a 21-year-old area resident, was angry at the police attendance and took a liquor bottle and threw it at the officer narrowly missing the member's head and brushing their shoulder,” said Wood.

The male suspect was arrested for assaulting a peace officer and later released on a promise to appear in court later this year.


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