SNRA Nordic Skiing

A pair of Nordic skiers enjoyed the snow in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area over the weekend. Monday's snowfall improved conditions further, just in time for the Blaine County Recreation District's Ski Free Day this Sunday. Visit bcrd.org for more information.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 1,263 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, raising the total to 146,106. Of those, officials continue to monitor an estimated 81,521 active cases.

Officials counted another 17 coronavirus-related deaths in the state overnight, raising the Idaho death toll to 1,488.

Blaine County gained seven new confirmed cases today, according to the state, raising local totals to 1,460 confirmed and 121 probable. Based on the most recent data available, the South Central Public Health District is monitoring 170 active cases in Blaine County.

As of today, 22,822 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Idaho.

Keep reading for updates on an Idaho State Police investigation into former Hailey Police Chief Jeff Gunter, new COVID-19 mitigation measures at the Ketchum Post Office, and more top news from Wednesday, Jan. 6.

• Following an investigation by the Idaho State Police, the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will not bring criminal charges against former Hailey Police Chief Jeff Gunter over allegations of theft and credit card misuse. Gunter retired from his position in February shortly after being placed on administrative leave for reasons never officially disclosed by the city of Hailey.

Alejandra Buitrago and Emily Jones report.

• Though Blaine County’s COVID-19 transmission risk decreased lately based on the county’s own assessment, local officials are concerned over the possibility of an impending return to “critical” levels after increased holiday traffic. In the Ketchum City Council's first meeting following the festive season this week, two council members called out various bars in the city for flouting health rules on New Year’s Eve.

Greg Foley has that story here.

• The Ketchum Post Office has enacted new COVID-19 mitigation measures following complaints from city officials over inconsistence adherence to city and state health ordinances.

Click here to read more.

• The Bellevue Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to recommend to the City Council proposed changes to city code that would provide developers an opportunity to extend final plat procedures for up to one year. The move comes as the high-profile Strahorn subdivision development continues to tackle delays brought on by the pandemic.

Tony Evans has more here.

• Meanwhile, in sports, Carey and Wood River's boys and girls basketball squads are squaring off in a grudge match Wednesday night, and Express Sports Editor Jon Mentzer is in the press box. Click here for live updates from Mentzer's twitter feed. Carey's varsity squads got the better of the Wolverines in the first round last week. 

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