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As teachers prepare to welcome students back into classrooms for the first time since March, Gov. Little announced that Idaho will once again remain in Stage 4 of his reopening scheme.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 263 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today. That raises the total to 32,927. The state reported no new coronavirus-related deaths overnight.

Blaine County's confirmed case count is back up to 588. That's two more than yesterday, but the same number as reported on Tuesday. The total had decreased on Wednesday for unknown reasons.

With those numbers in mind, the governor extended Stage 4 of his reopening plan yet again and the city of Ketchum seeks feedback on the Fourth Street closure. Read on for more on those, plus some other top news items for Thursday, Sept. 3.

• Idaho will once again remain in Stage 4 of reopening, Gov. Brad Little announced in a press conference earlier today. This is the sixth time Little has extended Stage 4 since it began on June 13. State officials cited a recent rise in COVID-19 hospitalization rates as the reason for the extension.

“I do not classify staying in Stage 4 as a failure,” Little said. “Statewide, our numbers and metrics are looking pretty good. Even in many of the hotspots, we are seeing encouraging trends. But that is not a reason to let our guard down.”

• The city of Ketchum held an informal open house in Town Square last night to receive feedback from the community on the partial closure of Fourth Street, instituted at the beginning of June. The city will continue to take public comment on the closure via an online survey available through Sept. 13.

• Two local residents put their heads together in the early months of the pandemic to figure out a novel way they could help first responders: by raising donations with a commemorative quarantine cookbook. Robyn Watson and Leslie Doheny-Hanks compiled dozens of recipes from more than 70 local contributors to create the book, which has already sold more than 300 copies.

Proceeds are being donated to local first responders. The book is available in 16 stores throughout the valley.

• The U.S. military’s highest court last week narrowly denied Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s appeal of his guilty plea and sentencing in 2017 for desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Bergdahl, who grew up near Hailey, argued that his verdict was colored by comments against him made by candidate and later President Donald Trump and the late Sen. John McCain.

• A reminder from earlier in the week: the Blaine County commissioners are meeting tonight at 6 p.m. to discuss how to pay for the undergrounding of an Idaho Power transmission line along state Highway 75. Members of the public are encouraged to attend the meeting virtually, but the commissioners will not take public comment until next week’s follow-up meeting.

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