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Upper Nicola Band chief and council positions decided by a single vote.

Elections officer Bernard Manuel Jr confirming that incumbent Harvey McLeod was re-elected chief of the Upper Nicola Band over the weekend, defeating past chief Danny Manuel by a single ballot, 101 to 100.

"At this point, there will be no re-count. We had three official scorers counting the ballots. And, all three came to the exact same total."

As for council, new comer Clarine Paul was elected, along with incumbents Brian Holmes, David L Lindley, Dennis MacDonald, and Wallace Michel, who garnered just a single vote more than Kevin Ned.

"We had a total of 282 voters participate, but there were two spoiled ballots. When you look back at 2014, we had 248, so 34 more votes were cast this year."

Manuel Jr says those elected now have 72-hours to confirm their appointment.

Merritt Fire Rescue Department and BC Wildfire Service planning a couple prescribed burns this week.

Should conditions permit, Merritt Fire Rescue Department Chief David Tomkinson confirms that prescribed burns both at the airport and above the "Bench" are scheduled.

"It all comes down to maintenance. Most of the areas we will be treating in the coming weeks, have received treatments before."

The exact timing of the burns will depend on weather and site conditions.

They will proceed only if conditions are suitable and will allow for quick smoke dissipation and low to moderate fire intensity.

Merritt paramedics looking for the same collective bargaining rights as firefighters and police officers.

Local paramedic Leanne Dynneson says they are petitioning to be designated as an essential service under the newly named Ambulance, Fire and Police Services Collective Bargaining Act, to be able to bargain for more full time position.

"Right now, it takes a part-time paramedic about five-years become full-time. But, if we could bargain more for full-time positions, more people would stick it out. Right now, we are losing so many paramedics in the process, because how can you support a family?"

Dynneson says when on call, paramedics are paid as little as $2 an hour.

Local paramedics collected 81 signatures at the Merritt Legion Saturday.

Signatures from 10% of registered voters in each of BC's electoral districts is needed by April 9th, for the petition to succeed.

Merritt Fire Rescue Department extinguishing a house fire on Parcel St.

Chief David Tomkinson says crews were called to 1301 Parcel St just before 11am.

"At the time of the fire there was one occupant trapped in the building, but she was able to be rescued by neighbours. The fire has now been fully extinguished"

At this point the cause of the fire is unknown.

"We don't have one at this point, but investigators will be looking at that in a day or two."

The injured occupant has been flown via air ambulance to hospital in Kamloops to be treated for smoke inhalation.

No other injuries are being reported.

Aaron Sam calling failed bid for the BC NDP Fraser Nicola nomination a positive experience.

"In life, we're always learning, and I've learned a lot over the last few months. I have no regrets, I worked really hard. And, I look forward to see what the future holds for me."

The Lower Nicola Band Chief says he will now be supporting Harry Lali, who defeated Sam at the Fraser Nicola riding nomination meeting in Merritt today, as the party looks to win back a riding narrowly lost to incumbent BC Liberal candidate Jackie Tegart in 2014.

"I'm a member of the NDP, and he won. I'll support him. And, now it's time to beat the Liberals in May."

Heading into today's nomination meeting Sam had received public endorsements from both BC NDP leader John Horgan, as well as former BC Premier Mike Harcourt.

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