Baker Lake Trees

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality rated Ketchum's air quality as moderate this afternoon as smoke still occasionally drifts into the area from wildfires in nearby states. Mostly, air quality has been good this week.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 333 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, raising the total to 34,950. The state reported five more coronavirus-related deaths since yesterday, leaving the death toll at 412.

According to the state, Blaine County gained no new cases. Totals remain at 590 confirmed and 19 probable.

Keep reading for news of the first week of school, a big environmental project heading for Colorado Gulch and more. Here are the top stories from Friday, Sept. 11.

• The first week of school has come and gone, and, according to Blaine County School District Superintendent GwenCarol Holmes, it went about as well as anyone could have hoped. The first day of school on Tuesday saw just one “mask issue” when a parent objected to their child wearing a mask. The incident was resolved, the student put on a shield instead and went to class.

Enrollment is down slightly at some BCSD schools, though, as working parents feel the strain having kids at home three days a week. Many seem to favor schools that offer in-person learning every day, Holmes said.

• Earlier this week the Blaine County commissioners approved a stream alteration permit application from the Wood River Land Trust. The permit will allow the Land Trust to revert a stretch of the Big Wood River within Colorado Gulch back to its natural state.

During this week’s meeting, the commissioners and the Land Trust also discussed options for constructing a new Colorado Gulch bridge to replace the one that failed in 2017.

• The Ketchum City Council unanimously passed the final reading of the city’s $33.7 million fiscal year 2021 budget on Tuesday. The new fiscal year will begin on Oct. 1. City officials expect decreased revenues heading into the year, with Local Option Tax revenue and sales down this summer year over year.

Also in Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Neil Bradshaw reviewed last week’s Fourth Street open house, which aimed to gauge public opinion of the partial Fourth Street closure. The closure had yielded mixed feelings, including a lawsuit against the city that has since been dismissed.

• Our reporter Gretel Kauffman caught up with U.S. Senate candidate Paulette Jordan before her town hall event in Ketchum last weekend. In a wide-ranging exclusive interview, Jordan weighs in on COVID-19, health care, her opponent Sen. Jim Risch and her ability to cross the political aisle to get the job done.

For more local and regional news, pick up a copy of today’s Idaho Mountain Express, or visit at any time.

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