Masks Required at School

Hailey police officer Mike Shelamer checked Wood River High School students for face masks as they entered the building for their first day of school yesterday.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported another 329 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, raising the total to 34,310.

The state considers coronavirus a contributing factor in 406 deaths in Idaho, 17 more than yesterday.

The Department of Health and Welfare  also confirmed one more case among Blaine County residents, raising local totals to 590 confirmed and 18 probable. Blaine's was one of 22 new cases confirmed in the South Central Public Health District on Wednesday, half of which were in Twin Falls County. 

Further north, wildfires burn in the Sawtooth National Forest, the county commissioners make a big budgetary decision and challengers file for Bellevue’s elections. Read on for more on those and other top stories from Wednesday, Sept. 9.

• Two wildfires are currently burning in the Sawtooth National Forest. The largest of the two, the Grouse Fire, has now expanded to 5,700 acres and is burning in both the Sawtooth and Boise National Forests about 24 miles northwest of Fairfield.

The second, smaller fire, the Leggit Fire, is currently estimated at about 100 acres 10 miles southwest of Alturas Lake.

• The Blaine County commissioners have opted out of a state program allocating federal CARES Act money to cover public safety salaries. The commissioners voted unanimously not to participate in the program, which would have required the county to forgo its usual 3 percent increase to property taxes.

Last month, the Hailey City Council also opted out of the program, and Bellevue opted in.

• The commissioners will meet again tomorrow night in a special session to continue discussion over whether and how to pay for the undergrounding of an Idaho Power transmission line along state Highway 75. Last week, the project’s stake holders met virtually to discuss funding options. Tomorrow, the commissioners will hear comments from the public.

• With two days remaining to the final write-in deadline, five qualified Bellevue residents have filed to run for three city council seats, and two candidates will run for mayor in the Nov. 3 election. City council incumbents Doug Brown, Greg Cappel and Tammy Davis will all run again, facing challengers Robert R. Bradford and John P. Marsh. Bellevue Mayor Ned Burns will run against Hailey police officer Jared Murphy.

• Had enough of fires, coronavirus and politics? Tony Evans looked into the vibrant world of wild horse adoption. The Bureau of Land Management and several 4-H Clubs in southern Idaho work on the adoptions to help make sure protected wild herds don’t get too large. Through their efforts, the horses stay healthy and protected and children in the 4-H Clubs learn important life skills.

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

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