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2019 Year in Review

Q101’s 2019 year in review is nearing the end as today we foray into September and October.

September began with the news that Lower Nicola Indian Band Chief Aaron Sumexheltza would be stepping aside after six years in the role. In October, Stu Jackson would be named Chief.

The September long weekend also signalled the annual Pro Rodeo in Merritt. Organizers were happy to mark the 2019 festivities as a success while looking ahead to an even better show in 2020.

The Federal Election would begin to hit high gear as the writ was officially dropped on October 11. Justin Trudeau would be elected in October with a minority Liberal Government. Locally Conservative Incumbent Dan Albas was re-elected.

Late September saw hundreds of logging trucks head down to Vancouver to show the impact of the forestry crisis across BC to the Provincial leaders.

At City Hall, the public was again divided on a possible development at 1330 Pine Street. After months of speculation and arguments presented both pro and con, City Council would approve the rezoning of the parcel.  

In sports, the Merritt Centennials would get off to a slow start to the BCHL season. Sitting at 2-9 the Cents decided it was time to make a change, out went Barry Wolff and in his stead came Derek Sweet-Coulter to take over the head coaching reins.

September also marked the BC 2019 Over-55 Games in which Merritt sent a strong contingent.


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Apsen no logs

Merrittonians have until January 20 to complete the Thriving Communities Labour Market Study.

The study was commissioned in the wake of the BC Forestry Crisis and the shift curtailments at Aspen Planers. (The survey began before Aspen brought back their second shift).

Julie Bayman, from Work BC, spoke to some of the potential services that may need to be looked at for the laid-off workers in the community.

“We look at wrap-around services,” said Bayman. “This could be service providers from Interior Health, drug and alcohol counselling, food bank and Work BC services.”

“The community in transition team decided that we didn’t have a lot of current data from the community around what was actually happening, where were the gaps in opportunities in relation to the labour market,” added Bayman.

The team is targeting people in the community who find themselves employed, unemployed and business owners.

A link to the survey can be found on the City of Merritt website.


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The City of Merritt along with the Thompson Nicola Regional District (TNRD) and the five local first nation bands recently agreed in principle to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). While the signing ceremony was pushed back the document outlining how the parties will work together for the betterment of all is expected to be signed in the new year.

Now the City is reaching out further to the Cooks Ferry Band in Spences Bridge. The City sent a delegation to begin the conversation around a possible MOU between the groups.

Mayor Linda Brown discussed some of the reasoning behind a possible partnership.

“Their ultimate goal is to have the majority of the Band move to the Merritt site. Now it may take half a century to do it, but that’s their goal, to move this way,” said Brown.

“They’re looking at Merritt being better commercially for their band members, better opportunities for them here,” added Brown.

The Mayor also mentioned how early conversations with the Band have been positive.


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Slovakia Flag

Finland flexed their muscle this morning in an 8-1 victory over Merritt Centennial Daniel Tkac and Team Slovakia.

The defending champion Fins were too much for the Slovaks from the initial faceoff, and with Slovakia cutting some early ruts to the sin bin, Finland was able to grab an early lead and never look back.

Finland took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission and then add four more goals before the Slovaks would finally answer.

With time running down in the second stanza, the Slovakian squad went to the powerplay and Tkac found the puck on his stick at the top of the right circle. The Cent would delay and then find teammate Robert Dzugan in front for the pretty redirect goal.

The Fins would add two more goals to wrap things up in a pretty 8-1 bow.

Slovakia has a day off on Sunday before taking the ice to face Switzerland on Monday at 10 am. They conclude the round-robin versus Sweden on Tuesday at 6 am.

Group A Standing – (Top four advance to the knockout round)

  1. Sweden 5-points
  2. Finland 4- points
  3. Switzerland 3-points
  4. Slovakia 3-points
  5. Kazakhstan 0-points


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2019 Year in Review

Over the next week, Q101 will be highlighting the biggest stories from 2019 here in Merritt and the Nicola Valley.

We continue with July and August.

July began with more bad news for Aspen Planers as the local Mill was forced to drastically cut back how many logs their accepting over their scales. Thankfully, Aspen Planer recently announced that their second shift, which was curtailed earlier in the year, would be restored temporarily. 

The summer months, of course, signalled music festival season in the Nicola Valley. 

First out of the gate was Bass Coast which again in 2019 managed to grow and from all reports was another massive success

Two weeks later, it was the turn of Rockin’ River to take over the city. Organizer Kenny Hess was thrilled with the turnout in 2019, and recently announced the lineup for the upcoming 2020 festival

The world focused on Western Canada in late July and into August as the manhunt for two Port Alberni teen murders was underway. The teens from Vancouver Island killed three people in BC before the manhunt finally concluded in northern Manitoba when they took their own lives. 

August 15 was marked by tragedy for the Q101 family and many Merrittonians. A fatal accident along the connector claimed the life of Q101 broadcaster Jesse Pakulat. Jesse was honoured throughout the community, including during a recent Centennials hockey game. RIP Buddy. 

In Sports, Roger Sloan secured in 2020 tour card after a successful season on the PGA Tour. 

Late August saw the start of the Merritt Centennials season as they would begin their training camp and play four preseason games versus Penticton and Prince George. 

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