Rotarun Air

The Rotarun Ski Area near Hailey opened today for day use. Kids under 18 can ski free until the end of the year thanks to a generous donation (kids under 10 are always free). Night skiing begins New Year's Eve and will continue every Thursday and Friday for the season.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported another 1,426 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, raising the total since March to 126,878. Of those, health officials continue to monitor an estimated 76,301 active cases.

The coronavirus is considered a contributing factor in the deaths of 1,259 Idahoans—27 more than yesterday, according to the state.

Based on the department's data, Blaine County gained another 12 cases since yesterday, raising local totals to 1,396 confirmed and 115 probable. According to the most recent available data, the South Central Public Health District is monitoring 221 active cases in Blaine County. The health district updated its transmission risk assessment today, indicating reduced risk in Minidoka County, down to "high" from "critical." Camas County remained at the "high" designation, while Blaine, Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln and Twin Falls counties all remained "critical," the highest-risk category. 

As of this morning, 321 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in Idaho, according to the health department.

Keep reading for updates on the COVID-19 vaccine’s expected arrival in the Wood River Valley, a familiar moose duo spotted in a grocery parking lot, a rezone in the vicinity of Dollar Mountain and more new from Thursday, Dec. 17.

• The first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Pfizer-BioNTech partnership is set to arrive in the Wood River Valley early next week, with staff at St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center first in line for inoculation.

• A cow moose and her calf were spotted ambling through the Albertsons parking lot in Hailey on Monday and Tuesday afternoon this week. The cow moose is the same that was recently treated for a severe case of conjunctivitis by Idaho Fish and Game officials. The department is urging residents to keep their distance if they encounter these animals.

• The Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission has given initial approval to a proposed rezone of approximately 75 acres of open land on a high-profile hillside near Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge. The rezone will shift the area out of Open Recreation zoning and into Single-Family Residential, Multiple-Family Residential, Open Space, and Service Commercial designations.

• Following the Hailey City Council’s pledge last month to dramatically cut its carbon footprint over the next two decades, Resiliency Coordinator Rebecca Bundy on Monday shared results from the city’s 2020 greenhouse gas inventory.

• A court trial to determine the outcome of a lawsuit filed against Blaine County by former commission candidate Kiki Tidwell wrapped up last week, but no decision has been made yet by a judge. The lawsuit claims that the county illegally issued a building permit allowing ARCH Community Housing Trust to build a duplex on Buttercup Road.

• The Sawtooth Avalanche Center has updated avalanche danger in the region from "low" to "moderate," indicating "heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features."

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

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