2020 Fall Aspen Trees

The Aspen trees north of Ketchum are beginning their fall show as they welcome the change of season with a brilliant display of color. Fall is also the season for elections, and our valley has several coming up. Read below to get details on the Idaho Mountain Express' annual candidates forum, which takes place this week.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare counted another 1,184 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide since Friday, including 458 today. That raises the total to 44,422. Health officials considered coronavirus a contributing factor in another 13 deaths over the weekend, leaving the death toll at 487.

According to the state, Blaine County gained six confirmed and one probable case since Friday, leaving those numbers at 666 and 34, respectively, or 700 total. As of Friday--the most recent data available at press time--the South Central Health District was monitoring 52 of those cases. 

Keep reading for more on local elections, one church’s response to Blaine County’s COVID-19 risk level, and other top news from Monday, Oct. 5.

• The elections are now less than a month away. As usual, to help keep the public in-the-know, the Mountain Express will be hosting its annual Candidates’ Forum this week, speaking with candidates in several local political races. Express staff will moderate discussions with District 26 House Seat B candidates Sally Toone and William Thorpe, Idaho State Senate candidates Michelle Stennett and Eric Parker, and Blaine County Commissioner candidates Jacob Greenberg and Kiki Tidwell.

The nonpartisan event will take place Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. To register or offer questions for candidates, email akindred@mtexpress.com.

• After Blaine County’s COVID-19 transmission risk level rose last week on the Harvard Global Health Institute’s assessment system, St. Thomas Episcopal Church announced that it would no longer offer outdoor Sunday services. The church had resumed in-person services in June, with the congregation exercising social distancing outside at Sun Valley’s Festival Meadows. Rector Jonah Kendall described the decision as “disappointing,” but also the “appropriate, responsible and safest decision” to make. The church will continue offering virtual services.

• The deadline to respond to the 2020 census has been pushed back to Oct. 31, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Friday. The announcement follows a tumultuous legal back-and-forth between a federal judge and the Census Bureau over whether data collection would wrap up on Oct. 5 or at the end of the month. About 41 percent of Blaine County households have responded so far.

• Hailey Mayor Martha Burke and Mexican politician Ricardo Gerardo Higuera, Consul of Mexico in Boise, attended a public ribbon-cutting ceremony over the weekend at Jane’s Artifacts to celebrate the unveiling of a new mural.

For more local and regional news, visit mtexpress.com or look for a copy of Wednesday’s Idaho Mountain Express.

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