The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 614 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today: the largest single-day spike since Aug. 6. Since that date, Idaho has gained 18,649 cases for a total of 42,048, of which an estimated 19,399 are considered active. Since yesterday, the state has counted five more coronavirus-related deaths, raising the death toll to 469.
Based on the state's numbers, Blaine County gained one confirmed and one probable case since yesterday, raising the totals to 651 and 32, respectively. There are some discrepancies between the state Department of Health and Welfare's numbers and the South Central Public Health District's numbers, however. As of this article's publication, the health district had not yet updated its COVID-19 information for today.
Keep reading for the top news stories from Wednesday, Sept. 30.
• A judge has once again ruled that alleged murderer Harley Park remains mentally incompetent to stand trial for the 2003 killing of Lynn Stevenson at a golf course the victim owned near Soldier Mountain north of Fairfield.
For the past 17 years, Park has had annual competency evaluations, which continually rule him out of a trial. At least two private-practice doctors have diagnosed him with chronic paranoid schizophrenia. Park will likely face another competency evaluation next year.
• The Bellevue City Council has approved a $3.44 million capital improvement plan, setting various funding goals to improve city infrastructure over the next five years. The plan includes $200,000 for a town square and $300,000 for street redevelopment.
• Jorge Pulleiro, who teaches Spanish at Wood River Middle School, has been named Idaho Teacher of the Year. As Idaho Teacher of the Year, he will talk with other teachers, legislators and policymakers across the state, meet with Teachers of the Year from other states and serve as Idaho’s nominee for National Teacher of the Year.
• The Hailey City Council approved a preliminary plat application for a 32-unit expansion to the Sweetwater Community in Woodside. The expansion will add 20 condominium units and 12 townhouse units.
• The Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission met for three-and-a-half-hours on Monday for a public hearing on a proposed hotel development at the southern entrance to the city. The proposed Ketchum Tribute Hotel would share the intersection of Main and River Streets with three other hotels. Without coming to a firm conclusion, P&Z opted to wait until an Oct. 27 meeting to pass final judgment, giving city staff to further review the situation.
For more local and regional news, pick up a copy of today’s Idaho Mountain Express, or visit mtexpress.com at any time.